"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
Added FL CB Eric Mitchell($).
Editorial Opinion: Sort of a light week outside of the Elite 11. There was a Rivals revamp, I guess.
About the departed:
- IL WR Kyle Prater took a visit in the spring and mentioned Michigan high up immediately afterwards but once that faded it became clear he wasn't feeling it. Cramming him into this class would have been difficult in any case.
- FL LB Jeff Luc was a major longshot.
- MD OL Robbie Havenstein mentioned M like once and then went radio silent; I'm not sure how much mutual interest there was in the first place.
- FL CB Nickell Robey said he'd visit, but will not. Minor ding there but CB still looks strong.
- CA LB Tony Jefferson's sudden commit to UCLA robs Michigan of a touted prospect at an area of need; even if they weren't in the driver's seat a 20-ish percent chance of landing him is better than none.
And then there's TX DE Holmes Onwukaife, who tried to commit to Michigan earlier and was told by the coaches that Ken Wilkins and Jordan Paskorz had taken his spot. He was offered the chance to come in as a middle linebacker and turned it down, went to Florida State's camp as an outside linebacker, got offered, and committed. Swing and a miss by the coaching staff here; if Onwukaife pans out it's going to be painful.
Here's a direct example of Michigan's eagerness to accept commitments probably costing them a better class. I mean no offense to Antonio Kinard or Jordan Paskorz, but if I had to pick one guy from the three just based on offers, recruiting buzz, and whatnot, it would be Onwukaife. I know, I know: Rodriguez forges two-stars into firey death machines and so forth and so on. It'll be interesting to see how Kinard, Paskorz, and Onwukaife end up panning out.
Weekly Semi-Creepy Devin Gardner Update
No, it's not this week that sees the recruiting roundup go without mention of Devin Gardner, but I've got a good reason: Gardner just participated in the Elite 11 camp, where he won awards for Best Feet—no doy—and Best In The Classroom. From there it gets schizophrenic. Gardner did not finish in the top five in the "Overall MVP" voting, but did cause Rivals analysts Greg Biggins and Barry Every to swoon:
Rivals.com national analyst Barry Every ranked Gardner as the top overall quarterback at the camp based on long-term potential and the ability to win football games.
“I don’t think there’s any question, after having seen him for four days, how hard he competes and how hard he wants to be the best,” Every said.
Every and Biggins agreed Gardner compares favorably at the same stage of his career to players like Vince Young, Tim Tebow, Juice Williams and Dennis Dixon, all Elite 11 alumni.
Yow. That's a huge disagreement between the camp counselor voting—current college QBs—and the scouting professionals. I'm naturally inclined to take the word of the professionals. According to Every, Gardner is a lock to shoot into the top 100 when Rivals revamps its rankings again. (Odd that Rivals would re-do their rankings before the most important quarterback camp of the year, no?)
Every's other favorite QB there, by the way, was PSU commit and OLSM QB Robert Bolden; MSU commit Joe Boisture finished last. MSU's resident Guy Who Knows Guy Involved With Elite 11 was not pleased with what he heard from his guy.
Other opinions also exist, though they're necessarily less star-struck. Scout's Scott Kennedy:
"Gardner is a superior athlete who is handcuffed a bit by a passing camp that doesn't showcase his playmaking ability with his legs. However, as one might expect, Gardner was solid in the bootleg drills, and while struggling hitting the deep-out to live receivers, Gardner picked up his game in the target practice segment, showing off better accuracy than many of his Elite 11 teammates."
ESPN's evaluation intertwines Bolden and Gardner:
Robert Bolden (Orchard Lake, Mich./Saint Mary's) and Devin Gardner (Inkster, Mich.) could almost be considered identical. They are the same in height, weight, frame, athleticism, arm strength, dual-threat capabilities -- you name it and they are probably alike in it. It is hard to tell the two apart. Bolden surprised a bit with how compact, quick and capable he was of getting rid of the ball. At times, the ball jumps off his hand with tremendous zip and power. Gardner is mechanically more like Vince Young with a bit of a three-quarter release, but he has the same "pop" out of his arm as Bolden. As the week wears on, these two will likely see a big jump in overall, consistent accuracy. Bolden, a Penn State commit, and Gardner, a Michigan commit, are terrific fits for their respective programs from a scheme standpoint.
Aaand JC Shurburtt:
Michigan commit Devin Gardner (Inkster, Mich./Inkster) has also surprised many. His hustle, leadership and athleticism add up to a tremendous maturity that will help him compete early for playing time in Ann Arbor. He was a notch behind Bolden throwing it, but still has a strong arm and excellent size.
All told, a highly positive camp for Gardner and Michigan.
Rivals did rejigger its rankings. Plenty of folks moved around but only a few items seem worth mentioning:
- PA DE Ken Wilkins got a fourth star.
- OH OL Christian Pace did not, which is somewhat surprising given Mike Farrell's almost rapturous praise for his film. I don't care; I think he's perfect for Michigan, and so does Rick Trickett.
- MI RB Austin White dropped a decimal point and is now actually behind MSU commit Nick Hill, which makes no the sense given that Hill's BCS offers were Stanford and State and White was clearly preferred by both instate schools, Wisconsin, Illinois, and LSU. But whatever.
- PA CB Cullen Christian flew up from a three star to the #60 player.
- Various stragglers at the mysterious end of Michigan's class all got their requisite three stars.
Grimes, We Talk To You
Rivals AMP with FL CB Tony Grimes:
Elsewhere in secondary prospects, OH S Bobby Swigert has a Michigan offer, has visited, and says Michigan is in his top group:
“Michigan was amazing. I was impressed with everything I saw, like the facilities and the new indoor building … it was just amazing. Coach Rodriguez is one of the coolest coaches I’ve met. And the academic advisor (Shari Acho) explained everything really well.”
With such a glowing recollection, it’s no wonder the Wolverines are in such a strong standing with Swigert, even though he hasn’t officially narrowed down his list.
“If I was to narrow down my list, Michigan would be in there. They are definitely one of the top contenders.”
On the other hand, OH S Kurtis Drummond now has Michigan State in the lead ahead of Michigan. OH S Latwan Anderson has bumped around his list a ton, with the latest update omitting Michigan. We'll see if that sticks; some recent scuttlebutt says Michigan is still in the running but needs a real visit to stay there.
You are large, but hopefully not too large
With defensive tackles thin on the ground—or too fat and on the ground—Michigan needs to make OH DT Terry Talbott a priority. So hurrah: Tom VanHaaren reports that Talbott will come up for a visit tomorrow. He also snags a quote from his coach:
"As for Terry, his strength is his ability to use his explosiveness to get off the ball and change direction. He is very strong upper body and his core is strong. He, like a lot of High School players need to better define his technique. He has good technique now, but to play at the next level and be successful his technique must be great. He uses his hands well now, but needs to always work on using them better." - Jay Minton
Terry's brother Terrance, a cornerback, is also coming in.
Punters are punting in code
WI P Will Hagerup is apparently the #1 guy on Michigan's board—he's the only guy out there with an offer—and a decision is coming soon. Two schools are seemingly in prime position:
Hagerup mentioned that a commitment could come in the near future, "I will decide within another month for sure."
Before he announces, Hagerup would like the further investigate Ohio State and Michigan, "I'm going to visit Ohio State and Michigan for sure within a couple weeks. I'm going to see practices at both places and take another tour at each school."
If it comes down to playing time, Michigan should win. Hagerup would be able to start at Michigan immediately with Zoltan the Inconceivable scheduled to transubstantiate into pure energy after the season. At Ohio State, AJ Trapasso has just graduated. Redshirt junior John Thoma is atop the depth chart; scholarship incoming freshman Ben Buchanan, Rivals' #3 kicker last year, is listed second.
User Mscharbo15 talked with TX RB commit Stephen Hopkins recently and put up a quick summary on the message board:
- He's graduating in December and will be enrolling early.
- His HS has OSU colors and he "wears them with shame."
- He's excited about the possibility of a home-and-home with Oklahoma State, since the 2010 game would be his first as a Wolverine and the 2011 contest would be the closest thing to a homecoming for him (he's from Texas).
- Although being the one power back in the 2010 class, he claims to be getting faster and quicker (can't hurt).
- Had he waited another month to commit, he likely would have received offers from Oklahoma (!!!), Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Sparty and Arkansas.
- He's heard from somebody in the know that if he has a good senior season he'll vault up to a 4-star.
Ooh: early entrant tidbit. That brings Michigan up to six commits with tentative plans to enroll early (Miller, J. Robinson, M. Robinson, Pace, and Gardner are the others).
Caveat: Though I can't confirm the poster isn't having us on, he signed up 28 weeks ago. Unless he was planning an incredibly long-term hoax in which the payoff is "you suckers thought I talked to a running back commit and posted innocuous things about it MOOOHAHA!" it's legit. The troll probability here approaches zero.
Etc.: ESPN evaluates SC QB commit Cornelius Jones and OH WR commit DJ Williamson, giving them three-star-ish ratings. Williamson sounds like the outside burner who will be stupidly wide open when safeties freak out about Gardner. OH DE Marcus Rush was supposed to visit Michigan Thursday but this apparently did not come off; I think this will be where M and Rush part ways. MD OL Arie Kouandjio has two officials, neither of which are M.
Update 7/14: Linked to articles on FL CB Tony Grimes, LA WR Drew Dileo, FL WR Ricardo Miller, PA CB Cullen Christian (and PA S Brandon Ifill), OH OL Christian Pace, MI RB commit Austin White, CT LB Khairi Fortt, MI P Mike Sadler, CA LB Tony Jefferson, IA QB AJ Derby (HT: BHGP), MN OL Seantrel Henderson (second), OH LB Jewone Snow. Moved MI RB Austin White to committed.
Removed FL CB Spencer Boyd (ND), SC CB Detrick Bonner (VT), SC OL Eric Mack (SoCar), MD LB Troy Gloster, UT DT Ricky Hemuili, NJ RB Tony Jones, OH RB Erick Howard, MI WR Baquer Sayed. Also removed the three QBs in the "unoffered prospects" category. Moved CA RB Dietrich Riley to S, FL RB Nickell Robey to CB, PA RB Zach Zwinak to LB.
Editorial Opinion: Mildly busy week highlighted by the commitment of MI RB Austin White, which gives Michigan the top instate QB, RB, and WR in this class. On to the show…
I took the opportunity presented by Austin White's commitment to rearrange the RB board. Anyone with a defensive position got shoved to that side of the ball on the assumption that's where Michigan will recruit them in the future and a couple marginal guys got sliced.
- FL CB Spencer Boyd finally committed to ND, surprising no one.
- A couple of South Carolina guys committed elsewhere.
- MD Troy Gloster is down to West Virginia and Stanford, which is one screwy list if you ask me.
- M did not make UT DT Ricky Heimuli's top ten.
Michigan was a real longshot in Heimuli's recruitment, but not even making a top ten list is harsh. Gloster's a mid-three star linebacker, so none of this is particularly damaging. On to that damage, though…
MN OL Seantrel Henderson's recruitment has undergone an unfortunate twist in the last couple weeks. Last week he tentatively announced four officials, none of which were to Michigan, and said Florida State—still not Michigan—might be the fifth. This week:
Offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson told ESPN affiliate Web site GatorCountry.com, "Florida, USC and Ohio State... its going to be one of those three. They play for championships and they put a lot of people in the NFL."
Wha? Okay, it's not final…
"It's not that I've closed the door on anyone. I'm still open but I've got some things that are important to me. It's going to be a tough choice but I'm going to make the right one whatever that is."
…but that's a huge shift from Henderson's previous statements and the widely held epinion that Michigan was a player on his short list and possibly even a tentative leader. Also there is this from MaxPreps:
In fact, one source close to the situation expects it to ultimately come down to OSU and USC, with Minnesota likely having already been ruled out.
Adding confusion to confusion, epinion merchants on M premium sites still say Michigan's a factor. So… yeah. Not dead yet in the same way Henderson wasn't in the bag earlier in the year, but chances haven't exactly gone up over the past couple weeks.
Oh, Right, That
I promised some more Christian Pace scuttlebutt in last week's Tuesday Recruitin' and then forgot all about it. Allow me to make amends. A reader sends this along:
A friend of mine is close to the Avon Lake football program. He's a former MAC football player, his kid is on the team, and he helps out with their off season conditioning program. He is not a cheerleader who is normally wowed by kids, but he confirmed to me last weekend that Pace is the real deal. He mentioned that Florida State was absolutely smitten with him. The FSU coaches actually told Pace that he is better than one or two of their starters today and would start for FSU in the 2009 season (as a 17 year old). That's obviously an over-the-top statement, but FSU clearly saw him as a guy who would play immediately and wanted him badly. I wonder if Rod is expecting Pace to at least be in the two-deep for the 2010 season, and thus encouraging the early enrollment. Otherwise, enrolling early just to be redshirted the next season seems like a form of self-torture. Especially for a recruit who had good coaching/training in HS and is relatively polished.
This jives with what the recruiting-mad Florida State fans at Tomahawk Nation told me: Rick Trickett was crazy about Pace, downright loony, and was really disappointed Michigan got him. Given the close association between Trickett and Rodriguez, that bodes well for his future.
What The… No. I Must Resist.
LA WR commit Drew Dileo comes in for the big fluff in his local paper, and you get one-count-it-one guess as to which current NFL player gets dragged up for comparison. Correct:
“He (Jackson) told us Drew reminds them of Wes Welker,” Simoneaux said.
The rest of the article has fascinating insight into Dileo's recruitment, including this remarkably self-aware statement:
“I know my profile isn’t as great as a lot of other kids’ around the country,” he said. “I know (Michigan) reached out there a little bit to get me. It’s not about proving anybody wrong. I just don’t want people up there to feel like I wasted a scholarship.”
Yipes. Hope he wasn't referring to this space, which attempted to be kind but was blunt in its assessment of Dileo's recruiting profile and the class composition when he joined up ("not terribly enthused"). Here will be a true test of Rodriguez's ability to unearth productive who-dats. They found the guy, they pursued him heavily…
“Of all the coaches that came through,” Parkview assistant David Simoneaux said, “Michigan was the most aggressive. They said they just had to have him.”
…and they got him. I hope it works out.
Unexpected In The Other Direction
Josh Helmholdt follows up on CA LB Tony Jefferson, who told ESPN last week Michigan would be on his list of official visits and USC was out. The article doesn't actually have any quotes, so let's just highlight this:
One reason Michigan likely has made a quick rise on Jefferson’s list is because of his desire to receive a highly respected degree. Jefferson committed to Stanford very early in his junior year, citing the Cardinal’s academic prestige. He eventually reneged on that commitment, but still is looking for a strong academic situation.
So there you go. Jefferson maintains no leaders.
Then there's this (now nearly week-old) article on FL CB Tony Grimes. Money quote:
"Michigan is going to be tough to beat," he said. "It's a great program. The networking is on point at Michigan and the alumni system is amazing. The coaching staff is building something great over there."
Schwing. Grimes isn't highly rated on Rivals but is Scout's #5 corner and the offers agree with Scout: Miami, Alabama, Georgia, and plenty others. Grimes visited earlier in the year and has scheduled a return trip for the Notre Dame game; that's the first official he's set.
And, yes, I am contractually obligated to highlight this quote:
"I was with Vladimir (Emilien)," Grimes said of his time in Ann Arbor. "That's my boy. He told me one difference (at Michigan) is once you get there, you are not just a piece of meat, you are a part of the family. That's something I can believe because he didn't play none of his senior year after he tore his ACL, but they didn't just cut him off. They kept his offer and he committed there. "
At this point I'd love nothing more than to never hear the world "family" in connection with Michigan football, good or bad.
More of the Same
PA CB Cullen Christian favors… yep:
When asked to name his leader, Christian said, "I like Michigan best. I feel I have the biggest bond with their coaches. I feel like it's a family there. Michigan is a great school."
Plz commit ASAP plz. Christian may bring along teammate and PA S Brandon Ifill, who's recently declared a top two of M and Maryland and will visit August 31st. Picking up Christian and Grimes would be a stellar 1-2 punch at corner.
Adios, Guy Whose Name I Just Figured Out
I had CT LB Khairi Fortt's name wrong on the board all this time, which is probably why he's got Michigan at or near the bottom of his top six:
"Penn State and North Carolina would be two visits," Fortt said. "But I have to go back over things. We visited 15 or 16 schools. I have to go back through my notes and pictures. I visited Penn State and North Carolina recently, so those schools are (fresh) in my mind."
Fortt does not see himself taking all five official visits.
"I might make three visits," he said.
Fortt tentatively plans an unofficial to Michigan in the next month, but M is clearly behind at least two schools and is just barely hanging on.
Etc.: I've been ignoring a lot of stuff on FL LB Jeff Luc because he's hardly mentioned Michigan and is expected to stay in state, but Sam Webb's been saying on the radio that he expects Luc will take an official. He also confirms that Khairi Fortt is not likely to end up at M. OH LB Jewone Snow doesn't seem like he'll get an offer. IA QB AJ Derby is still open. Commitment fluff on MI RB Austin White. Some MI WR Jeremy Jackson youtube interviews. Bo Schemblogger catches up with MI WR Ricardo Miller for a quick interview.
Update 5/2: Linked to articles on FL WR DeJoshua Johnson(second), FL RB Roy Finch, SC RB Marcus Lattimore (second, third), FL S Daunte Carr(second), OH DE Jibreel Black, LA S Ronnie Vinson, MD LB Troy Gloster($), FL QB Christian Green, FL CB Travis Williams, FL WR Chris Dunkley, MD LB Josh Furman (and PA QB Malik Stokes). Video of PA DE Dakota Royer, MI QB Devin Gardner, MN OL Seantrel Henderson, IA QB AJ Derby, TX LB Corey Nelson. Moved LA WR Drew Dileo to committed.
Removed MD WR Adrian Coxson(PSU), FL WR DeJoshua Johnson.
Added PA WR Andrew Carswell, FL CB Rashad Knight, GA CB Jonathan Mincy, PA LB Jordan Paskorz, MD S Lorenzo Waters, NJ RB Tony Jones, UT DT Ricky Heimuli($), MD S Michael Coley, MD S Lorenzo Waters.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here.
MD WR Adrian Coxson committed to Penn State, which is obviously not a big deal since he is an outside WR and Michigan has four of those in the class already.
I wasn't going to take FL WR DeJoshua Johnson (of Pahokee!) off the board just yet since this report comes from a source I'm unfamiliar with…
Pahokee H.S. (Florida) wide receiver and Gridironstuds.com member DeJoshua Johnson has narrowed his choices down to three: Florida St., Alabama and Oklahoma St. in no particular order. Johnson eliminated Michigan, Florida, West Virginia and any other team running a spread offense after watching this past weekend’s NFL draft.
…but I pretty much believe these guys since a recruit getting down to a top three is a crazy thing to lie about and the conventional wisdom on Johnson matches up with those final three schools. (Also, Johnson might want to check on what Oklahoma State runs before making any rash decisions.) Then came this article and this interview that confirmed, so he's gone.
Also destined to leave the board at some point in the future is PA DE Dakota Royer. He's made a number of visits to schools across the Midwest but hasn't stopped by Michigan. In this Rivals AMP video it's clear that Penn State is a considerable favorite:
Unless Royer makes it to campus in the near future—there are no plans to do so at the moment—he'll probably drop Michigan whenever he comes out with a shortlist.
Um, no seriously
MI QB commit Devin Gardner put in an appearance at a camp and, uh, had an interesting go of it:
But Gardner didn’t come looking to impress with his quarterback skills. Instead the super athlete stressed he was looking to impress everyone with his ability as a wide receiver and overall player.
Gardner would take a few snaps as a quarterback but he also took part in all the testing and had one of the top forty times by posting a 4.57 electronic timed forty. Gardner didn’t disappoint anyone and took home overall combine MVP honors.
Uh, I guess it's good Gardner's such a kickin' athlete he can crush a combine at any number of different positions, but no thanks on the position switch. Though that 4.57 isn't in the realm of Florida's FAKE (FAKE! FAKE!) 40 board, these things take place under highly variable conditions. An electronic 4.57 in a 6'4" beast QB is plenty fast. All you need to know about his athleticism is this: showed up at a combine, screwed around at a variety of positions, got overall combine MVP. The end.
Throwing motion? What throwing motion?
Elsewhere in combines, both PA CB Cullen Christian and PA CB Brandon Ifill had good days at the Penn State combine:
Defensive back Cullen Christian (Pittsburgh/Penn Hills) may not get as much publicity as his teammate, wide receiver/defensive back Brandon Ifill, but it was Christian who came away from the camp with honors. Ifill did a nice job Saturday and showed why he has scholarship offers from multiple BCS schools. But Christian was even better and was named the camp's defensive back MVP.
I was under the impression Christian was a solid four star sort, but a couple reports like this indicate he was trending towards anonymous three star and is now moving up into the four-star range.
Dual freak linebackers
MD LB Josh Furman did this:
Josh Furman (Millersville, Md./Old Mill) may have had the single best outing out of any prospect on this year's Under Armour combine tour. He posted a wind-aided 4.39 40-yard dash, a 42 inch vertical jump, a 4.12 short shuttle and a modest broad jump of 9 feet, 8 inches. His 16 reps of 185 pounds were also very impressive and a bit surprising given his longer, rangier frame (6-foot-2, 192 pounds).
Daaaang. You can commence the feeding frenzy. A teams are about to make it rain offers. Furman maintains not even the hint of a leader and has been backed off from green to yellow as the initial excitement of the Michigan offer fades and Furman realizes he can go just about anywhere.
Meanwhile, DC LB Javarie Johnson, he of the erroneous post-visit commitment report, also appears to be a guy who's using the combine circuit to shoot his stock through the roof:
…on the hoof, there might not have been a better-looking prospect. Johnson is tall (almost 6-foot-4) with a frame that looks like it was carved out of clay for an outside linebacker. He is long and lean but is also layered with chiseled muscle and looks far thicker than the 210 pounds he weighed in at.
ESPN says Johnson "could be the next big star to come out of Dunbar." Too bad that commit report was erroneous.
PA QB Malik Stokes—the younger brother of incoming WR Je'Ron Stokes—also gets a mention:
During seven-on-seven, offenses were run out of the spread, allowing quarterbacks to display their passing skills in the short-to-intermediate range. Stokes did not disappoint. He started off a bit rusty -- showing inconsistent accuracy -- but warmed up quickly, hitting receivers in stride and making sound decisions. His touch was very good.
He's switching high schools so he can throw a bit more. Pitt's offered and Stokes claims interest from a number of BCS programs, so a Michigan offer isn't out of the question down the road. Buuut:
He completed a few downfield throws but we do not see pocket-passing arm strength or the requisite size for the next level.
Another Scout report says he could be a really really good… CUSA or MAC QB. Stokes is going to need a big senior year to get a Michigan offer.
Long fluffy-style article on MN OL Seantrel Henderson doesn't have a lot of news—he plans on deciding on or near Signing Day—but does have this tantalizing quote:
"The only way for Seantrel to lose that No. 1 spot is if he decides to not play football," said Barry Every, a national recruiting analyst for Rivals based in Athens, Ga. "We haven't seen anybody better to make a change. He's definitely a five-star player who will make a major impact in college."
Michigan figures to be in the top five when that time comes.
Excitement about TX LB Corey Nelson, the teammate of TX RB commit Tony Drake who named Michigan his leader a couple weeks ago, should deflate:
"I don't really have a top five but A&M is my top school right now." However, Nelson does plan to make official visits.
Nelson appears to be one of those guys like Sam Montgomery who has a new leader every day, so Michigan's not out of it. The thing to watch for now is potential visit plans.
Okay, so there's this article about FL S commit Marvin Robinson title "Michigan commit considering Canes"($); commence swine-flu-level unnecessary panic. Unfortunately, after the events of last year we can't just laugh it off, but all the insiders remain extremely confident. I'm choosing to spend my time running around screaming "AAAAAAAARRRGH AAAAAARGH DEATH" worrying about Michigan's safety situation this fall. Will inform if my fear increases beyond miniscule here.
Etc.: CA RB Brennan Clay picks up an Oklahoma offer. Freep thing on LA WR commit Drew Dileo has one thing of note, this quote from his coach: "He can turn punts into long gains." Webb article on FL QB Christian Green for some reason; he's almost definitely ticketed for FSU. Michigan is in LA S Ronnie Vinson's top six.
Added NJ OL Jake Kaufman, FL RB Roy Finch.
Editorial Opinion: A much more manageable set of items this week. The big news was Michigan picking up a commit from Dallas Skyline RB Tony Drake, which was covered earlier. With three senior RBs and transfers from McGuffie and Horn, Michigan will be in the market for probably three tailbacks this year. Drake is a smallish zone slasher; expect one angry moose type and a wildcard to round out the class.
He will battle the evil Mingovians
Okay, words: Legaux is a dual-threat QB who's obviously from Louisiana; he's a member of the Rivals 250 and completed nearly 70% of his passes last year. Michigan is his first big offer and that article comes from Sam Webb. So, yeah, heuristics and all that: Michigan leads for a quarterback named Munchie Legaux.
Let's do this.
MN OL Seantrel Henderson is currently the nation's #1 recruit to both Scout and Rivals. He's a mountain in a helmet, and last week he visited Michigan. The trip went well:
Cretin-Derham Hall's 6-8, 300-pound junior offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson was especially impressed with an unofficial visit to Michigan the other day.
And this appears to be the barest outline of a leader for Henderson, albeit an undeclared one:
GH: Which schools do you like right now?
SH: I like all schools, I don’t have a top three or four — Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, USC, Notre Dame and Minnesota — those are some of the ones I like.
GH: Do you plan on taking all of your five official visits this fall?
GH: Do you have schools that you definitely want to go see?
SH: Michigan, for sure.
Schwing! There's a long way to go with Henderson—when you're the #1 recruit you can wait until signing day, or, like, a month after.
A couple things that may affect Henderson's choice are the fate of his friend JD Pride, who Henderson would like to go to school with, and the ability to play basketball in college. Pride, a dual threat QB, has a Minnesota offer and visited Michigan with Henderson.
A foot in the door
It's supposed to be a poor crop of defensive tackles this year, so this is welcome news:
An absolute beast is Johnathan Hankins out of Southeastern High School in Detroit, Michigan. He’s over 6-3 and 300, he dominates sort of like an ornery bear, a big one. Alabama, Michigan, Michigan State are after him, Florida’s offered.
A Florida offer for Hankins would be strange. IIRC Michigan is waiting on summer camp before deciding whether or not to issue an offer, and they've had plenty of opportunity to interact with Hankins. But the above-linked is part of Gator Country, the ESPN-affiliated Florida recruiting site, and is therefore likely to be accurate.
Despite the increased competition a Florida offer brings, I'd regard the above as extremely good news. Hankins has been rumored to be a Michigan fan and lean for a few months now, and if he's got the talent to reel in a Florida offer he's likely to pick one up from Michigan. Bonus: Hankins is a high school teammate of MI DE Will Gholston. Getting a commitment from him couldn't hurt in Gholston's recruitment.
Before: cute. Now: eh, not so cute.
An extensive Sam Webb article in the News on TX LB Caleb Lavey features this picture from the Lavey family archives:
Awww. Amazingly, Lavey comes up well short of the most adorable legacy-recruit-as-kid photo. Here's current Northwestern defensive back David Arnold, the son of former Wolverine Dave Arnold, a long time ago:
Those of you who managed to keep your brains from exploding should know that Lavey is now a 6'4" middle linebacker who racked up 200 tackles last year and has offers from Oklahoma, Penn State, Notre Dame, and others. He is no longer cute. This is good for his prospects.
Lavey hasn't come out and named a leader, but the unofficial visit and his dad's background have Michigan in good shape:
"I really like Coach Rodriguez," said Caleb. "He left me no doubt in my mind that he will be able to turn Michigan around. He's a great coach and a great guy. Me and my dad sat down and talked with him. We talked about the program and what his plans are. He has a great vision for Michigan and he'll be the coach that turns it around and turns it back into the national championship Michigan that it always has been."
Another trait that stood out was the vigor with which the players practiced. "It was just unbelievable how hyped up they were and how they were just getting after each other," Caleb reported. "It was great."
It still kills me a little that Arnold never got an offer; hopefully this one works out better.
Video of people and things
Rivals' move to Yahoo's video distribution system has been a godsend. Things are tagged and organized, they work cross-browser, and the free stuff is available for embedding. The old stuff was finicky—never worked in firefox for me—and way less functional. Yahoo FTW.
Anyway, embeds. This is FL RB Corvin Lamb, a teeny tiny jet engine from Miami Northwest:
Top five is a good place to be at that point; if there's a visit it'll get serious.
And while we're on video, please enjoy the most pointless content in the history of recruiting. It's highlight video of PA CB Cullen Christian's combine performance. Christian extends his arm! Is a certain height! Jumps! Continues jumping! Etc. The best part is that 1) this was evidently televised by Fox Sports, and 2) whoever did the televising thought his name was "Christian Cullen."
Etc.: M in SC RB Marcus Lattimore's top ten; MI QB Robert Bolden says he doesn't want to go "where they are recruiting two or three quarterbacks and have a bunch of guys already." The coming Gardner commit is probably the death knell for M's chances with Bolden.
Moved OH DE Jibreel Black to offered.
Added PA DT Sharif Floyd, MD LB Josh Furman, FL CB Spencer Boyd, OH WR DJ Williamson, MD RB Zach Zwinak, MD OL Robbie Havenstein.
Editorial Opinion: Hey, kids. First Tuesday Recruitin' of the 2010 year. A primer on Michigan's 2010 recruiting class was deployed a couple weeks ago and is still basically accurate. There hasn't been a huge amount of movement since except for a steady stream of offers going out. However, a couple new names you might want to keep an eye on:
TX LB Caleb Lavey. You might have noticed the "TX" next to his name and have decided to ignore this paragraph since even if he commits he'll just decommit or transfer after a year, but Lavey is the son of one of Bo's equipment managers($)… his family is kind of pro-Michigan. A little. Lavey has an impressive array of Big 12 offers highlighted by Oklahoma and has just gotten a Michigan offer. He's a middle linebacker all the way—a spot at which Michigan took no recruits last year—and this looks like an excellent match.
OH WR DJ Williamson. Yes, another receiver. Williamson is from Warren Harding in Ohio, the school that sent Mario Manningham, Carl Diggs, and Prescott Burgess to Michigan, and Scout's got a headline asking if M is on the verge of a fourth commitment that namechecks Harding: Williamson is the most prominent player there in 2010, and MGoHeuristic #2 states that "questions asked in premium post titles are always answered 'yes' in the article."
This uncommonly useful Buckeye Planet thread has a ton of posts from Worm02, a frequent poster there and elsewhere whenever Harding comes up—he's got some connection with the program. As of about a year ago, one of the Bucknuts guys ranked him the #10 player in the state; if accurate, that definitely lands him a fourth star.
What are they going to do with all these receivers? Well, defy the conventional wisdom that Michigan would never be able to reel in top-level wideouts, for one. And for two, probably move at least one to defensive back.
Various Other People You Do Not Need To Get To Know So Well Yet
Offers out to a bunch of guys who are just names so far: OH DE Jibreel Black, MD LB Josh Furman and awesomely named RB Zach Zwinak, PA DT Sharif Floyd, FL DE Delvin Jones, CA S Sean Parker, FL CB Spencer Boyd, FL LB Christian Jones, PA LB Aramide Olayanian (one of two guys with the last name Olayanian that Michigan's after), PA QB Anthony Gonzalez, and so forth and so on.
Furman sounds like a good possibility:
At close to 6-foot-2 and a chiseled 186 pounds, Furman has a very long muscular frame that hints of great physical upside, so it's more likely that this running back will play outside linebacker (or a hybrid safety position) in college. On film, he plays faster than his 40-yard dash time (4.7 seconds), making plays from sideline to sideline and flashing good range and equally impressive chase speed from the backside.
The Maryland native told us that it doesn't matter where he'll end up playing at the next level. He has received offers from Maryland, West Virginia, Vanderbilt, Pitt, Duke, UNC and Michigan. Furman posted a top-three SPARQ rating led by a striking vertical jump of 38 inches and displayed his great explosiveness. He told us the Michigan offer "was really big," and he hopes for others from similar prominent programs.
"I'm looking for a big, prestigious school and a nice college atmosphere," he said.
Tentative leader at least until some other prominent programs get involved? Sounds like it.
GA RB Mack Brown is a big, pounding sort who's going to be a national recruit. Michigan has his interest:
“They want me to come up there to the spring game in April,” said Brown, who said former Michigan star Mike Hart is one of his favorite running backs of all-time. “I like them a lot, but I also really like Georgia and Florida [both have offered].”
Keep an eye peeled on him, and the other Brandon Minor-esque backs Michigan is pursuing this year. There are some mighty-mites mixed in but the bulk of the offers have gone out to men who run like angry moose, men who scatter the local villagers every time they get up to full rumble. He wants #33, which Michigan can give him since the guy currently in possession of it, Boubacar Cissoko, plays defense.
“I was pretty excited and had no clue they were going to offer,” Clay remarked. “There are plenty of other running backs out there with great caliber, I was just fortunate to be among the people they pulled the trigger for. … Bar none, Michigan is high and they'll always be in the top (group)," Clay said. "I know this year they were kind of down, but I have faith in them and feel they'll be back on the map next year."
When in doubt go with the statement to a neutral third party; I'm still skeptical on Michigan's chances until Clay says something specific other than "Michigan is in fifth." They'll get an opportunity to move up: Clay plans on getting up for the spring game.
PA CB Cullen Christian, who Michigan leads for, did well at a combine:
One of the top names heading into the event was Penn Hills cornerback Cullen Christian, who is already approaching 10 scholarship offers and did nothing to diminish his rising star Saturday. He posted outstanding marks of 39.3 inches in the vertical jump and 4.25 seconds in the shuttle on the way to a 102.57 SPARQ rating.
Hooray 102.57 SPARQ rating!
…is Friday, Michigan's "night of champions" wherein the various groups of players come together and compete in various citizenship/grades/amount of vomit Barwis collected from you contests. I think there's an egg-eating thing, too. Anyway, many local players will be up. Various big names in attendance:
Among the in-state prospects who've stated they plan to attend are Detroit Southeastern defensive end William Gholston, Detroit Cass Tech cornerback Dior Mathis, Inkster quarterback Devin Gardner, Warren Fitzgerald linebacker Austin Gray, Charlevoix offensive lineman Bill Ivan and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s quarterback Robert Bolden. …
Spartanburg, S.C., quarterback Cornelius Jones (6-2, 197 pounds) is one of those who is trying to work out a trip to Ann Arbor for the event. He was offered by U-M in January. Flower Mound (Tex.) Marcus running back Stephen Hopkins (6-0, 220) has also said he wants to visit Michigan that weekend. Hopkins was just offered a scholarship last week by the Wolverines.
Sounds like DJ Williamson will likely commit at the event; sometimes you'll get a two or three dropping as Michigan takes the opportunity to offer a number of kids.